This year, probably because we find Ramadan occurring in the summer months, I have found myself reflecting on the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) when he said: “The fasting person has two occasions for joy, one when he breaks his fast because of his breaking it and the other when he meets his Lord because of the reward for his fast.” [Muslim].
The breaking of the fast is indeed a joyous moment, especially for the kids. We often find ourselves sitting around the table with the kids waiting patiently for the clock to strike magrib so that they can get stuck in to the delights for the day.
Fasting is an action we do in response to the command of Allah (swt) and hence the knowledge that we fasted for His (swt) sake and broke our fast with food that He (swt) has provided is a humbling thought. But the immediate pleasure of the medjool date hitting my taste buds is not the only source of joy. In the hadith we are informed that there is another source of joy for the fasting person, when he meets his Lord and is rewarded for the fast. It is that part of the hadith I have been reflecting upon, meeting and seeing Allah (swt) in the hereafter and whether my family and I view this as a desire.
Allah (swt) describes in surah al A’raf the exchange that took place between Himself (swt) and Moses (Musa (pbuh)), in which Musa (pbuh) asks for permission to be able to see Allah (swt).
He (swt) said: “And when Musa (Moses) came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him, he said: “O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.” Allah said: “You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me.” So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Musa (Moses) fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said: “Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.” [TMQ Al A’raf:143]
Musa (pbuh) was so in awe of Allah (swt) that what he wanted more than anything else was to be able to cast his eyes upon the beauty of Allah (swt). That was his desire and immediate wish. But Allah (swt) told Musa (pbuh) that he would not be able to see him, such is the Power, Might and Magnificence of Allah (swt). Musa (pbuh) was unable to fulfil his immediate wish, but the Prophet (pbuh) told us about a day in which the believers’ sight will be set firmly on their Lord. That Day is called Yawm al Mazeed (the Day of Increase).
Abu Said reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: And listen on the Day when the caller will call out, ‘ O people of Paradise, Your Blessed and Exalted Lord wants to meet you. So come to visit! They will say : ‘At your service’. They will rise and hasten to visit. They will have najaib (special vehicles) and will leave in a hurry until they will arrive to the valley of ‘Al-Afyah’. That is their point of meeting as they will all be gathered there. Not one of them will leave. The Lord Almighty will ask that His Throne be brought and put in the place of the meeting.
Then they will set up platforms in Nur (for the people of Paradise), and platforms of pearls, and platforms of aquamarine, and platforms of gold and silver. And the lowest of them will be sitting on hills of musk. And there is no one lower among them. They will see the owners of the chairs (the more righteous) above them in due happiness. Until they are all well established and reassured of their place, the caller will call out ‘O people of Paradise, you have a meeting with Allah. He wants to reward you.’ They will say, ‘What? Has he not instructed our scales [good deeds] made our faces shine, and made us enter Paradise and saved us from the Fire?’
And while they stand, a light (unlike no other) will illuminate through Paradise. They will raise their heads. Then when the All-Compeller, Perfect in His Majesty with His Exalted names is present above them, He will say, ‘O people of Paradise, Salamun Alaikum (may the peace and blessings be upon you). They will not have anything better to say than ‘Allaahumma antassalaam wa minkassalaam tabarakta ya zaljalali wal-ikram.(O our Lord, Allah! You are Peace, from You comes peace, Blessed is the Owner of Majesty and Honour!
And the Lord, the Majestic, to Him belong all Blessings will then say to them, ‘O people of Paradise.’ This is the first thing they will hear from Him, ‘My servants who obeyed Me while they did not see Me, this is Yaum al Mazeed (Day of Increase),’ So they will all come together on a single word which is ‘we are satisfied, be pleased with us. He will say ‘O people of Paradise, if I was not happy with you, I would not have let you enter into My Paradise. Today is Yaum al Mazeed, so ask of Me.’
They will all unite on a single word, which is ‘show us Your Face so that we may see You’ And so the Lord Almighty will remove the veil [between Him and the people of Paradise] . He will manifest Himself in all His glory, and the brilliance of His Nur, they will forget all the benefits they had seen (from their time in Paradise). And had Allah not willed, they would have burned by the brilliance of His Nur. And there will be no one there but each person will meet with his Lord!. Then He [Allah] will say, ‘Do you recall the day when you did such-and-such (sin)?’. They will then remember the sins committed in dunya [standing before Allah]. They will respond, ‘O Lord do you not then forgive us?’ Allah will say, ‘ Only thanks to My forgiveness have you arrived at this grade’ [Muslim]
This is a spine tingling narration. I imagine that we would all want to be present at the gathering of Yawm al Mazeed and we would sacrifice every pleasure to experience that day.
Often we are conditioned by the society to only seek the immediate. We want everything here and now. This is a natural reflection of living in a secular society which denies the importance of a creator and the hereafter. We see the extreme of this in our children, whose faces light up in joy when they get what they want and whose faces turn sad when they don’t. They, and more often than not we, want immediate gratification and we find it difficult to continue on a path with patience.
When the kids are struggling to memorise a certain surah of Quran they want to give up because they want immediate gratification. In educating my children I tend to want to give up when they do not respond in the manner I would like because I am looking for the immediate. In seeking the immediate my children forget that Allah (swt) will reward them in the hereafter for ever letter they read and the reward is doubled for making effort. In seeking the immediate I forget the closeness I may share with the Prophet (saw) for raising my daughters.
Allah (swt) promises us this and much more, but this gratification is delayed. Ultimately every happiness and pleasure we have in the world, no matter how numerous, is only a fleeting moment. They come and they go. True and permanent happiness is only attained through gaining the pleasure and forgiveness of Allah (swt) and our faces will truly be radiant when they are facing the one worthy of all praise and submission, Allah (swt).
So as a Muslim I need to realign my pleasure and happiness to that which gains the pleasure of Allah (swt). As a parent I need to inculcate in my children a true desire to gain closeness to Allah (swt).
In this world, we will have joy, in the form of samosas, pakoras and biryani for iftar. But we should never forget the joy of meeting and being rewarded by Allah (swt). Together we will work and help each other in order that we will be present on the day of Mazeed, where the beauty of Allah will increase the beauty and radiance on our faces.
Allah (swt) says: “Some faces that Day will be naadirah (shining and radiant), looking at their Lord.” [TMQ Al Qiyaamah: 22-23]